Lovely’s hopes sink on Great Lakes Tour

Julia Gabriel

The Jacoby Cues Great Lakes Tour kicked off its fourth season on September 16th & 17th at Hall Of Fame Billiards in Warren, MI. At stake were a $1000.00 added prize fund plus a WPBA qualifier spot.

The event began Saturday with the players meeting, during which Julie Melman announced that she would no longer be co tour coordinator, and that David Hanshaw would be taking over all tour responsibilities. The meeting also brought the announcement of the tour's newest sponsors: Aramith Billiard Balls, Cue Cube, and Tweeten Fibre Co. (Master Chalk).

Players came from all around the US as well as Canada and England to make up the 29-player field. The first round brought a couple of exciting match-ups. Two top Michigan players--CJ Jerome and Julie Melman--squared off, and 14 & under BCA Junior National Champion Liz Lovely faced WPBA pro Vicki Paski. Melman played a great match and easily disposed of Jerome (7-2), while in the other match, Paski found she had her hands more than full, losing to Lovely in a tight 7-6 decision. Meanwhile, in the other half of the bracket, Missouri native Julia Gabriel went to work knocking opponents to the one-loss side with little fanfare, besting Cheryl Morrell (7-2), Becky Todd (7-3), and Leanne Amable (7-4), taking her to Sunday play unscathed.

Back in the top half of the bracket, the tiny terror from Dayton, Ohio, 14-year-old Liz Lovely came to play. After her win over Paski, she would post wins over two-time tour points winner Julie Melman (7-4), and Paula Albright (7-3), to make it to Sunday play undefeated. There she would face touring pro Gail Grecar, whom she blanked (7-0), to face Gabriel for the winner's side final.

This weekend, Gabriel would be the only one standing in the way of the young phenom, taking the hot seat match 7-4. This placed Lovely in the one-loss side to wait for Maria Catalano, a snooker champion from Birmingham, England, making her way through the U.S. to try her hand at 9-ball and a shot at the WPBA. In early rounds, Catalano posted wins over Chandra Claypool (7-3), Stephanie Goens (7-1), and was then sent to the one loss side by Gail Grecar (7-5). There she continued with victories over Vicki Paski (7-4), Shannon Crosthwaite (7-5), Sunny Ulrich (7-3), before avenging her loss to Grecar in a jaw-dropping final game. At hill-hill, Gail miscued on the 7-ball, giving Catalano an easy out for the win and a place in the semi-final with Lovely.

The semi-final match would see a determined Lovely play with the heart and composure of a player much older then her modest 14 years, earning her a 7-5 win and a chance to even the score with Julia Gabriel.

The finals (a single race to 9) started with Gabriel once again looking like she had Lovely's number. Gabriel tallied the first 3 games before Lovely would answer with the next four to take the lead. Gabriel came back to take the next three in a row to make the score 6-4. Liz would win the next game, only to lose two in a row to put Gabriel on the hill. Lovely managed to take the next game, making the score 8-6. for Gabriel, this next rack would be the heart breaker. Lovely left herself a little too straight on the 8, forcing her to play two-rail position on the 9. She hit the 8 just a little too strong, allowing the cue ball to find its way into the side pocket, giving Gabriel ball in hand on the 9 for first place and the qualifier.

We would like to thank Hall Of Fame Billiards owner Cass Marcinkowski as well as co-event sponsor La Barons Billiard Supply. As always many thanks to our title sponsor, Jacoby Custom Cues.

The tour's next stop will be at The Billiard Club of Louisville on October 7th and 8th, which will also feature a $1000.00-added purse plus WPBA qualifier spot. Check us online at

Final Standings:
1st Julia Gabriel $700.00 + WPBA qualifier
2nd Liz Lovely $425.00
3rd Maria Catalano $240.00
4th Gail Grecar $190.00
5th Cheryl Morrell $140.00
5th Sunny Ulrich $140.00
7th Shannon Crosthwaite $90.00
7th Julie Melman $90.00